What's New in the EU: Less red tape for construction products: proposed "common technical language"

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu May 29 15:58:52 UTC 2008

What's New in the EU: Less red tape for construction products

The regulatory framework in which enterprises work is a key factor for
competitiveness, growth and employment. Ensuring that the regulatory
environment is kept simple and of high quality is said to be an
essential objective of the enterprise policy of the European Union. In
this framework, and in order to improve the internal market for
construction products, the European Commission proposed this week to
replace the Construction Product Directive (89/106/EEC). The new
proposal aims to remove all remaining regulatory and technical
obstacles to the free circulation of construction products in the
European Economic Area.

With 15 percent of European Union manufacturing added value, but only
5% of intra-community trade, the construction sector is less open than
other sectors of manufactured goods. There are more than 40 certified
construction products, including doors, thermal insulating products,
cement, roofing and bricks. The proposal aims at introducing a "common
technical language" for expressing the performance of all these
products, thus simplifying and clarifying the present situation. A
clarification of procedures leading to CE marking (certification and
testing of products for the European market) is introduced as well, to
reduce costs for manufacturers, while ensuring that the declaration of
performance accompanying the product is accurate and reliable.
Specific measures are also introduced to make life easier for

The proposal could facilitate free movement of goods by creating a
common technical language for manufacturers to express the
performances/characteristics of the products they place on the
European market. This common technical language, mainly harmonized
standards and European Technical Assessments replace the corresponding
national technical specifications and increase market transparency to
the benefit of users, such as designers, builders, contractors and
other actors. In particular, architects should find it easier to
obtain reliable information about the performance of the products they
intend to use, facilitating their responsibility to ensure the safety
of the construction works as required by respective national rules.
Public administrations of Member States will also be able to make it
easier for them to carry out their various tasks related to

The stated aim of the proposal is to ensure reliable and accurate
information on the performance of construction products by increasing
the credibility of standards, but also by introducing new and stricter
criteria for notified bodies and by strengthening market surveillance.
The proposal contains precise rules for determining the obligations of
all economic operators. Notably, the situations when a manufacturer
shall make a declaration of performance have been clearly defined.
This is hoped to offer manufacturers a choice of declaring the
performance of their products beyond the minimum requirements in

The use and the specific meaning of CE marking for construction
products will be determined clearly. This marking attests that the
information accompanying the product has been obtained in accordance
with the proposed regulation and therefore must be considered accurate
and reliable. In some specific situations, the procedures leading to
CE marking will be simplified to significantly reduce the costs
incurred to manufacturers. In particular, this applies to
micro-enterprises (less than 10-member staffs) and for individual
products, when significant safety concerns are not implied. For the
same purpose, also the use of stable previous test results or other
existing data on the products will be allowed, instead of demanding
the repeated testing of such products. For innovative products,
simplified and streamlined procedures will be introduced as well.

The standardization processes under the proposed regulation could also
contribute to the new developments toward sustainable industrial
policy by providing harmonized tools for its implementation; for
example, in the areas of energy efficiency or sustainable
construction. The European Commission said the proposal was to be seen
as complementary to other EU actions to enhance sustainable
development. The construction sector as a whole represents more than
10% of the GDP within the EU. Being the biggest industrial employer in
Europe, it involves more than 15 million employees and 2.7 million
enterprises. Within this, construction products account for more than
5 million employees and contribute more than 3% of the EU's GDP.


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list